Instigator / Pro

Sex work should not be legally prohibited for adults


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 8 votes and with 35 points ahead, the winner is...

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Round 1
Thank you Con for accepting this debate.


I assume my opponent during this debate will be arguing for Prohibition, and arguing against decriminalization and legalization.
I will be presenting arguments in favour of decriminalization and legalization, as defined below.

Prohibitionism seeks to eliminate prostitution by criminalizing all aspects of the prostitution trade. Under this approach, prostitution is seen as a violation of human dignity. Criminal law and effective law enforcement are viewed as critical tools in reducing the number of individuals involved in prostitution.

Decriminalization implies the repeal of prostitution-related criminal law. In Canada, decriminalization would involve repealing all criminal law relating to prostitution, including communicating for the purposes of prostitution, operating a bawdy house and/or brothel, and living off the avails of prostitution.

Legalization refers to the regulation of prostitution through criminal law or some other type of legislation. This approach treats prostitution as a legal occupation, but nevertheless controls it by a set of rules that govern who can work and under what circumstances they may do so. Typically, governments that have adopted the legalization approach regulate the trade through work permits, licensing and/or tolerance zones.
Sex work

Sex work generally refers to prostitutuion, though it can also include other adult entertainment industries, including those that work and operate in the adult entertainment industries, but are not directly involved in providing sexual services.

The term sex work refers primarily to prostitution, but also encompasses adult video performers, phone sex operators, webcam models, dancers in strip clubs, and others who provide sexually-related services. Some extend the use of the term to include "support personnel" such as managers, agents, videographers, club bouncers, and others.

Sexually transmitted infection

Prohibition causes sex workers to fear law enforcement and possession of condoms can be used against the sex worker as evidence and this increases the likelihood of sexually transmitted infections. Also as an illegal sex worker has no legal workers rights they cannot demand that a condom gets used. They also have no police protection and so legally cannot refuse service, and if they try to refuse service, this increases the likelihood of violence and rape.

Sex workers also find it difficult to negotiate safer sex withintimate partners and clients in the context of physicaland sexual violence perpetrated by some of them.18 Forexample, in a survey conducted among Vietnamese sexworkers in Cambodia, 30% reported that they had beensexually coerced by clients who were unwilling to put ona condom.19
2020 study East Java
A 2020 study was carried out in a district of East Java which unexpectedly criminalized sex work. The study found that the criminalization increased sexually transmitted infections by 58%.

We find that criminalization increases sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers by 58 percent, measured by biological tests.
2018 study rhode Island
In Rhode Island sex work was unexpectedly decriminalized and a 2018 study showed that the decriminalization led to a 30% decrease in reported rape offences and a 40% decrease in sexually transmitted infection.

While decriminalization increases the size of the indoor sex market, reported rape offences fall by 30% and female gonorrhoea incidence declines by over 40%.
Street prostitution zones
A 2017 study in the Netherlands found that the implementation of street prostitution zones in the Netherlands led to a 30-40% drop in rape.

Our difference-in-difference analysis of 25 Dutch cities between 1994-2011 shows that opening a tippelzone decreases registered sexual abuse and rape by about 30-40 percent in the first two years.
Human rights

Sex workers have few human rights and are often the victims of discrimination, and can find themselves excluded from healthcare, education, and housing.
Criminalization forces them to work in unclean and unsafe environments and they are also very often unable to seek police protection. But more than this, they are also often the victims of police brutality. According to a study carried out by SWAN, up to 100% of sex workers analysed had been the victim of police brutality. Brutality can range from unlawful arrest, extortion (bribery), to violence and sexual assault.
Sex workers are thus unable to report crime to police, and very often the police themselves are bullying sex workers with impunity.

  • Macedonia 100.0% (17/17)
  • Ukraine 85.0% (17/20)
  • Kyrgyzstan 64.2% (9/14)
  • Bulgaria 70.0% (7/10)
  • Serbia 62.5% (5/8)
  • Russia (Siberia) 55.0% (11/20)
  • Latvia 42.9% (9/21)
  • Russia (Northwest district) 30.0% (6/20)
  • Lithuania 15.0% (3/20)Slovakia 5.0% (1/20)
Fines and criminal record

Prohibition laws are counter productive and can lead to a vicious circle. Sex workers often do not make that much money as it is can find themselves with very costly fines which can increase poverty. The fines only increase in cost with every charge. With the fines often comes a criminal record which can make it even more difficult for a sex worker to find alternative work. Sex workers can quickly find themselves unable to pay the rent and homeless, and find themselves even more dependent upon prostitution as a means to pay off the fines and survive, which is totally counter productive.

Sex workers face stigma and prosecution in the US and around the world. As Molly Smith and Juno Mac write in their 2018 book Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rightstens of thousands of people are “arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, deported, or fined” for sex work-related offenses in the US every year. In a 2003 survey of street-based sex workers in New York City, 80 percent said they had been threatened with or experienced violence, and many said the police were no help. In fact, 27 percent of respondents in the survey said they had experienced violence from police officers.
Crimes against sex workers

Sex workers have no workers rights and a whole host of crimes go unreported. Those crimes include the following:

  • Racial discrimination by a stripclub owner
  • Dismissal of day job because of illegal night time job
  • Non payment by a client
  • Assault
  • Rape
  • Also no legal protection for the buyer
Arguments for decriminalization or legalization

  • No one is harmed in a legal and professional sexual transaction, and it is performed by consenting adults.
  • Sex trafficking  is greatly reduced by legalization and decriminalization.
  • With decriminalization or legalization comes human right and workers rights, police protection, cctv, panic buttons, and reporting of other crimes, et cetera
  • Sexually transmitted infections are reduced.
  • Rape instances fall.
Legalizing sex work provides employment

The legalization of sex work will see unemployment rates decrease and will also provide more money for the national economy as sex workers will also be expected to not be in receipt of benefits and will require to pay tax.

Countries which have legalized sex work

Now I am going to provide a list of countries and states that have legalized sex work and I invite my opponent to provide examples from those countries in to just how the legalization of sex work has turned those countries in to a cesspit.

  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Nevada
Countries which have decriminalized sex work

Now I am going to provide a list of countries and states that have decriminalized sex work, and I invite my opponent to provide examples from those countries in to just how the decriminalization of sex work has turned those countries in to a cesspit.

  • New South Wales, Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Washtenaw County, Michigan 
History of prostitution

According to Wikipedia, prostitution is first recorded in Sumerian written records dating back to 2400 BC.

 Sumerian records dating back to ca. 2400 BCE are the earliest recorded mention of prostitution as an occupation. These describe a temple-brothel operated by Sumerian priests in the city of Uruk. This kakum or temple was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar and was the home to three grades of women. The first grade of women were only permitted to perform sexual rituals in the temple, the second group had access to the grounds and catered to visitors, and the third and lowest class lived on the temple grounds. The third class was also free to find customers in the streets.
Prostitution is not going to go away

Prostitution has been with us for at least 4400 years, and even if prohibition continues prostitution will carry on anyway, therefore the only logical thing to do is to legalize it, license it, regulate it, and make it safer for everyone.

Good luck to my opponent

Round 2
Round 3
Round 4